A gripping history of a new kind of warfare, with sobering lessons for America's future.
The end of the Cold War promised a new era of international peace. But instead, violence has proliferated across the globe, not in the form of a superpower arms race or a clash of armies, but in bitter local conflicts marked by terrorism, insurgency, and guerrilla warfare. Former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey likened the post-Cold-War world to "a jungle full of snakes". The emergence of this new, potentially never-ending struggle has forced our military to reevaluate strategies or risk losing hearts, minds, and soldiers the world over.
James Arnold delivers a gripping narrative of a century of counterinsurgent warfare, from the Philippine War to present-day Iraq, analyzing wars won and lost: the British in Malaya, the French in Algeria, and the United S tates in Vietnam. Arnold explains the tug-of-war for civilian support and illustrates the high stakes of any counterinsurgency effort. The epilogue examines the occupation of Iraq, where America, to its cost, ignored the lessons of previous conflicts.
A veteran military historian, Arnold combines storytelling ability with strategic insight. Jungle of Snakes will be essential reading for those who want to understand the ongoing series of struggles that the Pentagon calls "the Long War".
©2009 James R. Arnold (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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This work is an excellent set of case studies on counterinsurgency from the 20th century. While this book focuses on many aspects of the rights and wrongs different organizations implemented in their varying approaches to countering asymmetric forces, it is more history than criticism. For a more scientific approach, I would suggest David Kilcullen's Counterinsurgency.
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